Andre Ethier is on the trading block

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UPDATE: Rosenthal says the Dodgers have “zero intention” of trading Ethier, but will listen. He says two teams have inquired.

October: The Dodgers are interested in trading Andre Ethier!

November: No, the Dodgers are not interested in trading Andre Ethier.

December: The Dodgers are interested in trading Andre Ethier:

I don’t doubt that the Dodgers would actually like to trade Ethier, but he’s got an ugly contract, even by late 2012’s increasingly crazy standards. L.A. owes him $85 million between now and 2017. This for a guy who turns 31 next season.  If anyone wanted Ethier, they’d be better off just signing Nick Swisher themselves.

Which doesn’t mean he’s untradable. For one thing — as one of my Tweeps notes — a free agent like Swisher may nit wish to go to a place like, say, Seattle, so if the M’s wanted his like, they could do a deal for Ethier. And of course, L.A. could kick in a lot of money in any Ethier deal.

Still seems pretty unlikely anyone would bite, but stranger things have happened.

Mariners claim Kaleb Cowart off waivers from Angels

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The Mariners announced that the club claimed Kaleb Cowart off waivers from the Angels. Interestingly, the Mariners list Cowart as both an outfielder and a right-handed pitcher. Cowart has never pitched professionally, but the Mariners will try him as a two-way player next season, Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports. Cowart was a highly regarded pitcher in high school.

Cowart, 26, has played all over the field, spending most of his time at third base and second base, but also logging a handful of innings at first base, shortstop, and left field.  He hasn’t hit much at all, owning a career .177/.241/.293 triple-slash line across 380 plate appearances in the big leagues. It makes sense to try another angle.

Shohei Ohtani, of course, is helping to popularize the rebirth of the two-way player. In his first year in the majors after having played in Japan for five years, Ohtani won the AL Rookie of the Year Award by posting a .925 OPS in 367 plate appearances along with a 3.31 ERA over 10 starts. Don’t expect Cowart to hit those lofty numbers, but additional versatility could prolong his life in the majors.